Published: Nov. 30, 2016
Ronggui Yang speaking at the symposium

Professor Ronggui Yang’s research on water consumption in power plants has earned him a trip to the United Arab Emirates.

Yang, a CU Boulder mechanical engineering professor, recently returned from the 4th Arab-American Frontiers of Science, Engineering, and Medicine Symposium, a gathering of top researchers from the USA and the 22-country Arab League.

The goal of the conference, which is co-sponsored by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, is to expand scientific exchange and dialogue among researchers in Arab countries and the United States, and to facilitate new research collaborations.

The event is highly selective, and attendees must submit a formal application. Some 300 researchers and scientists from the United States applied, but 90 percent were turned away. Yang is one of just 30 people to make the final cut for the all-expenses paid conference.

What earned him a spot? Yang’s work focuses on heat transfer, and he, along with his colleagues ME assistant professor Xiaobo Yin and University of Wyoming associate professor Gang Tan, have proposed a new system for power plants that could save significant amounts of water.

Traditional turbine generator systems use massive amounts of H2O, and in the deserts of the Middle East and North Africa, that is less than ideal. Yang’s Radiative Cooling-Cold Storage research could enable transformational power plant cooling technologies that dissipate no water to the atmosphere and have no loss of efficiency.

Yang believes the project could have a major impact on electricity production and use, consumption of fuels, and greenhouse gas emissions.

The symposium was held in partnership with the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, NYU Abu Dhabi, Khalifa University and Petroleum Institute, and hosted by the Masdar Institute.